Place “smart” in front of a noun and you immediately have something that somehow sounds improved.

In its current state, however, “smart parking” is in some ways little different from regular parking. The term refers to a beguiling technology, now being tested in several cities, that uses sensors to determine whether a particular spot on the street or in a parking garage is occupied or vacant. When a car has overstayed its allotted time, the technology can also send the information to a parking enforcement officer with ticket book in hand.

The sensors’ data can also be used to adjust parking prices, using higher rates to create more turnover on the busiest blocks and lower prices to draw drivers to blocks with underused spaces…

Cities are marketing the programs as experiments in using demand-based pricing to reduce traffic congestion — the kind caused by circling drivers desperately seeking parking spots — and to make more spaces available at any specific time. Drivers are encouraged to use mobile apps to check parking availability and pricing, though coverage is not universal. Parker, for example, from Streetline, gives detailed information about on-street parking for Los Angeles, but not for San Francisco.

SFpark is using “smart pricing” to achieve a target of having one parking space available most of the time in the areas it covers, says Jay Primus, the SFpark program manager. SFpark, he says, “de-emphasizes inconvenient time limits and instead uses smart pricing” to achieve those targets. The same spot, for example, may have different parking rates for different times of day. That intraday pricing is adjusted at multimonth intervals, but theoretically, it could be altered on the fly, depending on availability at any given hour.

All of which requires at least a smartphone or a motor vehicle newer than 99% of what’s on the road.

As for parking enforcement, San Francisco and Los Angeles have begun to use the sensor technology to dispatch officers to cars that have stayed past their limits. That’s far more efficient that having officers roam streets in search of random meter violations.

And that’s how this will all be paid for.

  1. NewformatSux says:

    Sounds like a good idea. 10% of driving in cities is probably people driving around looking for a parking spot. 50 cents vs 25 dollars at a garage is too big a differential. Let the street price go up during the day.

    I’ve already seen meters that flash when the time is expired.

  2. Say Kai Lee says:

    In Vancouver, they tested “smart” parking meters, thank God they are gone now. How smart were they? Well, if you metered for 2 hours, and left after 15 minutes, then the meter would detect that the car moved, and zero the time left on the meter.

    No more “Hey buddy, I’ve got 45 mins left on this one, and I’m leaving, come park here.”


  3. John E. Quantum says:

    City planners have deliberately designed urban areas with too few parking spaces with the intention of forcing people to use mass transit. City finance managers have determined that parking fines are an excellent way to balance the budget. For people who use mass transit, it’s not an issue. For anyone forced to drive and park in the city for work or personal reasons, too bad. Technology will insure that you pay as much as possible.

    • dusanmal says:

      “…with the intention of forcing people to use mass transit…” – and have we given Government authority to force people into doing stuff against their free will? I don’t think so. Hence the Constitution as a list of NEGATIVE rights as current Pres’ would like to call it. Country is at the breaking point. Soon we may have some of those city (country) planners and meddlers in front of the Court system charged with obstruction of human rights. This is not much different than slavery, same as people from those times – some just accept it as is, some fight it as unacceptable,… later usually win.

  4. noname says:

    I never understood how many city stores survive. The stores with free parking and fewer access hassles see much more business than stores accessible by paid parking. And these less visited stores, charge considerably more for the same merchandise. It’s only those really high end stores in elite areas that make any economic sense.
    There is some kind of crowded city living “brain damage” that allows people to convince themselves these stores offer any relative value, IMHO!

  5. birddog says:

    Ball Peen Hammer

  6. bobbo, one lib-tard spanking right wing retards for years says:

    Place “smart” in front of a noun and you immediately have something that somehow sounds improved./// Place “dumb” in front of commentary that does not substantively review new technology and you immediately have identified a worthless conclusion.

    Smart Parking will benefit all involved. don’t like it? Of course not. but it eases one serious effect of overcrowding. Don’t conflate the fact of overcrowding with measures to alleviate it.

    • mainecat says:

      I always hope all those ‘dummy bombs’ the air force drops will find their targets. So far, no luck.

      • bobbo, one lib-tard spanking right wing retards for years says:

        Does the AF even use dumb bombs any more? Cheaper to go smart.

  7. ECA says:


    tells me a few things..
    In downtown areas…THERE SHOULD BE NO LIVING/HOMES/APT unless there was adequate PARKING for them and friends.
    HAVE A major BUILDING?? YOU better HAVE MAJOR parking.

  8. orchidcup says:

    I am so thrilled that I am not an urbanite ant.

  9. Dippity Do says:

    Sounds like a good way to KILL THE ECONOMY! And do it in an even more efficient way while also whittling away at our rights.

    One thing I always question when it comes to roads is why don’t “they” (the government) want us to use them? It seems like these municipalities need to back off – WAY OFF! Because about the only time a cop is really even needed is when there is a crash or other disturbance where someone didn’t follow the rules. So just how parking on an empty street or even speeding when there is no traffic for example are things that are disturbing is what we should be looking at. Not what the rates or fines should be. That’s pure bullshit!

    …And tough titties if you can’t park in the lobby of the nearest Starbucks. All of our fat asses could stand a little walking especially after chugging that extra foam latte with enough sugar to make Willie Wonka vomit.

  10. What? The moth is always drawn to the flame? says:

    Cities depend on the fines as a revenue source.

    The only reason cities install parking meters is to generate fines.

    They could throw away the money collected from the meters because the fines are where the revenue is.

    Boycott meters, and I wonder what cities will do to pull in the fine money they depend on?

    Yet the sheeple continue to ignore the truth.

    • ECA says:

      fiNES ARE GENERALLY collected by another business.. NOT the police, but another part that has special rights..AND that company KEEPS 1/2 or more of the fee’s.

    • MikeN says:

      BS. Even if they are collecting $5 a day per spot, that is more than they are collecting in fines.

  11. Admfubar says:

    introducing the smart parking tax, oops make that fee, ’cause the companies that make these devices and implement the monitoring service need their cut.., prolly the same group that run the red light cameras.. 😛

  12. Uncle Patso says:

    Amazing what people will get all het-up about. Parking?

    Live in the suburbs and work in the city? Contract with a parking garage for a space. Costs more than you want to pay? Tough. Here’s one place where the market (more or less) efficiently finds the true value of a service.

    The relatively cheap, cheap, cheap meter parking is designed to provide access for customers/clients of downtown businesses, and metered with time limits so the commuters won’t take all the spaces. It’s actually a subsidized service. But people complain, and try to game the system, so city planners try their best to make it better, and with Moore’s Law up to its 43rd or so generation, this kind of thing is getting cost-effective, so look for _lots_ more of it, and remember — this is just the first generation.

  13. MartinJJ says:

    Eh, maybe remind me first. Why are we paying for parking our car again? We already paid for the roads, parking spots, curbs, sidewalks, streetlights, etc. Parking fees (and tickets) are nothing less then an extra cash cow for cities to fix their budget holes because they spent your tax money on useless projects, so politicians do look good. Commercial carparks probably lobby heavily wtih the local counsils to make it expensive as possible to park on the road side, so their carparks fill up. Cities can actually hire officials to give you a parking ticket because it is very profitable. It’s basically very weird people put up with all the parking crap and want to pay for the same thing over and over again. It should be free. Everywhere. You already paid for it. And they should be creating more parking spots, not less all the time just to be able to jack up the prices. Local (small) business could florish again and not only the large chains that are able to build their own free car parks.

  14. Thomas says:

    Why not simply make meters that scan your license plate, charge your exact time through the DMV and eliminate the need for most parking enforcement other than to check cars that won’t scan?

  15. Ryan says:

    They are using this system in Indianapolis. I think it’s nothing but a money grab for the enforcement and ticketing of cars. It’s illegal to use your cell phone for texting or searching the internet for parking spots! However the guy walking around writing tickets now receives alerts on which cars are now past their time.


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